Yellow-breasted Chat by Dave Hawkins

Birds help us, and now
they need our help

Many songbirds play an indispensable role in the control of forest and agricultural insect pests, saving millions of dollars in the application of deleterious pesticides.

Bird watching is a powerhouse of the outdoor recreation industry, enjoyed by an estimated 45 million Americans each year according to the 2016 year National Survey on Recreation and the Environment. All of this activity around birds, in turn, supports jobs and pours almost 80 billion dollars annually into the economy!

Ecotourism, with birding as a primary component, is increasingly recognized as a critical source of income that can support natural area conservation or cushion resource-based economies as they transition to a sustainable level of resource use.


Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds.

In 2019, a major study  conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the American Bird Conservancy, wildlife research agencies in the U.S. and Canada, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (among others) showed that over the course of one lifetime (since 1970), North America’s bird populations have been reduced by more than 25%!

Graphic Courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Yet there is hope
because conservation works

As evidenced by increasing populations of waterfowl,
which have long been carefully managed for hunting,
as well as habitat conservation successes for species
such as Kirtland’s Warbler, (recently removed from the endangered species list),
funding for State Wildlife Programs and Bird Conservation Joint Ventures is well-spent!
Policies and legal protections are also essential.


Birding at Sharps Ridge